The Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisation (PIANGO) has been granted Special consultative status by the United Nations.
PIANGO ‘s acceptance to engage with the UN’s Economic and Social Council and its subsidiary bodies was announced by the new UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Fiji – Mr Sanaka Samarasinha, in his first public engagement soon after presenting his credentials to Fiji President Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote last week.
Mr Samarasinha said PIANGO’s ECOSOC status was a milestone achievement for civil society in the region.
At a special function attended by representatives of UN Agencies, Government officials, CSO representatives and PIANGO’s affiliates from around the Pacific at the Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi last week, he said the voices of the Pacific’s people’s would be amplified on the world stage.
ECOSOC is the UN’s central platform for reflection, debate, and innovative thinking on sustainable development.It deals with economic, social, cultural, health, human rights, fundamental freedoms and also coordinates the work of the UN and its specialised agencies
Gaining ECOSOC status allows PIANGO to be informed about the provisional agenda of the Economic and Social Council. PIANGO may request the Secretary-General through the Committee of NGOs to place items of special interest in the provisional agenda of Council.
With ECOSOC status, PIANGO is now entitled to designate official representatives to the United Nations Headquarters in New York and the United Nationals offices in Geneva and Vienna.
PIANGO board chairperson Ms. Sarah Thomas Nededog said the consultative status is the highest status an NGO could attain.
“This privilege opens doors to opportunities for input to the development of global policy on socio-economic issues facing our beloved Pacific,” Ms. Nededog said.
“In the coming months, PIANGO will develop strategies to ensure that our member organisations and partner entities can maximize this new role with the UN so that the voices of our Pacific people can be heard throughout the chambers of the UN and around the world.”
Hosting the celebratory function in Nadi, PIANGO executive director Emele Duituturaga said it was great news for the people of the Pacific.
“It’s a big step forward for all of us, our NLUs and the Pacific,” she said while paying tribute to some former and current staff of PIANGO.
“Many have contributed to this achievement and it is a personal joy and privilege to be in leadership at such a time as this.”
Representatives of PIANGO’s affiliates who were in Nadi to attend the week long UN SDG/ Voluntary National Review (VNR) workshop also commended PIANGO and said they looked forward to more active participation in its work.
Fiji Council of Social Services executive director Vani Catanasiga delivered the welcoming remarks and expressed delight at PIANGO’s achievement, saying this was particularly timely as Fiji prepares to submit and present its VNR report tothe UN in New York in July 2019.
Priscilla Kare, the PNG affiliate representative, said PIANGO’s status meant that regional and national CSOs could now register for UN meetings under PIANGO’s accreditation status, without having to look for others as it has always done in the past 27 years since its set up.
Fiji Government representatives, UN agencies, Secretariat of the Pacific Community and Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat also joined the PIANGO family to celebrate the event in Nadi last week.